I had a bag of new potatoes to unload and I also had cajun seasoning which I had bought months earlier but didn't get a chance to use it in any dish. Needless to say but I will still go ahead and mention it, I kinda hit two apples with one stone with this dish!!
Cajun cuisine is a style of cooking named for the French speaking Acadian people deported by the British from the Acadia in Canada to the Acadian region in Lousiana. It is more of a rustic cuisine where preparation is very simple ( yes very!) and locally available products are used. Shrimp and pork sausages are staple meats of the Cajun cuisine. Cajun seasoning consists of a blend of salt and a variety of spices but mostly cayenne pepper and garlic, resulting in an aromatic spicy flavorful dish. Yum...
This dish of new potatoes sauted in cajun seasoning was indeed very flavorful and would be a great hit at parties and barbeques!
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
2 -3 tbsps EVOO
20 new potatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup sliced scallions
2 tsps cajun seasoning
Extra sliced scallions for garnish
1 tsp chilli flakes for the topping
1) Scrub and boil the new potatoes in salted water till cooked. Slice lengthwise and keep aside.
2) Heat a medium sized pan and pour 2 - 3 tbps EVOO. Fry the scallions and garlic till light brown.
3) Add in the 2 tsp cajun seasoning and mix well for 2-3 mins.
A close up of the cajun seasoning. We can see granules of garlic, cayenne pepper, bell pepper, parsley, celery and rock salt.
4) This will be followed by the boiled new potatoes.
5) Give it a good mix and let the flavors absorb into the potatoes. Check for salt and add, if necessary.
6) Top with the cubed avocados and a dash of chilli flakes. Serve hot immediately!
I couldn't decide if this was a fruit or a vegetable salad since it has both apples and wild rocket leaves, so I'm gonna go on a limb here and just refer to it as a simple summer salad.. honestly I wasn't expecting a lot from the dressing...dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil? How could that taste great? But I must say I was blown away from the end result! The sweetness of the crunchy apples complemented the sour salty taste of the dijon, cider and olive oil dressing. A fantastic way to fill up your tummy when you are trying to watch your calories. As usual, there was some tweaking of an original recipe - I have used Parmigiano reggiano cheese as I did not have Pecorino. It wasn't available in where I usually shop. In fact, I have not seen Pecorino cheese anywhere in Singapore. Hmmmm...interesting.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
250gm wild rocket leaves
2 crunchy red apples, sliced
75gm Parmigiano Reggiano shavings
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsps apple cider vinegar (ACV)
2 tbsps olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1) Make the dressing first by whisking the mustard, ACV, olive oil and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
2) Place the rocket leaves and apple slices in a salad bowl.
3) Add the dressing and toss to mix.
4) Top with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings and a dash of pepper.
5) Serve immediately.
Dates are in season again as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is upon us. Fasting is mandatory in Islam for all Muslims and we must not eat or drink (not even a sip of water) from sunrise to sunset. It is certainly a very testing month of our faith for all Muslims but we somehow manage and soon the 30 days get over and we get back to our regular eating. Dates are always eaten when breaking the fast at sunset because dates are highly nutritious (dates are very rich in iron, manganese, potassium and copper). It is recommended to eat 2-3 dates when breaking fast because dates provide the body with natural sugar, helping to restore the low blood sugar after fasting all day. And it helps to kickstart the digestive process.
So, I happen to be in a supermarket the other day and was thrilled to see boxes and boxes of dates displayed all ready for the approaching fasting month. I quickly grabbed two boxes and brought them home only to have my husband requesting a loaf/bread/cake or bars using the dates. You see, its always a challenge to please my husband's taste buds when it comes to confectionaries because he is so particular about the usage of butter, sugar and eggs. So whatever recipe I come across online, I have to tweak it to replace the butter (for this recipe I used coconut oil), eggs and reduce or sometimes completely omit the sugar. And I am not always successful.
The following recipe gives a no-butter no-egg Date and Walnut Oatmeal Crumble - essentially a date and nut filling sandwiched between two layers of crispy crumb mixture.
Ingredients (Yields around 18 crumbled squares)
For the Crumb Base and Topping
1 3/4 cups rolled oats (or even fruit-free muesli)
1/2 cup brown granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup coconut oil
For the Date Filling
250 gm dates
1/4 cup brown granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup grated white coconut
1) Firstly, you have to pit and chop the dates into small pieces. This is the most time consuming step of this whole recipe.
2) Then, place the chopped dates, water and brown sugar into a small pot. Boil till the dates become soft and mushy. This will take roughly 5 mins on low heat. You can mash the date mix to speed up the process.
3) Then, add in the chopped walnuts, grated coconut, vanilla and coconut oil and give it a good mix.
4) Switch off and let this date mixture cool.
5) Take a medium sized mixing bowl and add all the ingredients - plain flour, rolled oats or fruit free muesli, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and coconut oil. Mix it well and divide into 2 portions.
6) Spread out half the crumb mixture into a greased 10inch by 6inch glass baking dash.
7) This will be followed by the date filling. Use your fingers, to spread it out evenly, if you need to. That's exactly what I did!
8) Top off with the remaining crumb mixture and spread it out evenly.
9) The side view.
10) Bake in a preheated oven for 30-45 mins at 180 deg C or 350 deg F. Once baked, let it cool down bwfore slicing the block into squares.
11) It wasn't easy to cut into perfect squares because of the sticky date filling but they tasted so delicious! The sweet filling complemented the not-so sweet crumb mixture very well.
The original recipe featured in Women's Weekly was made with minced turkey, instead of the usual minced beef used in taco filling. As usual, I like to make vegetarian versions of interesting recipes which I find challenges my culinary skills. The recipe called for turkey meat to replace the artery clogging beef but I made it even more healthier by using mashed firm tofu instead. And to equalise or increase the protein content, I added kidney beans. I apologise if I seem to be blowing my own horn here, but mashed tofu is an excellent substitute for minced meat of any kind. And I was kicking myself for not using this idea earlier!
And Quinoa replaces the carb loaded burritos to make this a fiber-rich low-fat protein-packed taco bowl!
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water (can use vegetable broth for increase flavor)
Salt & Pepper
1 tbsp EVOO
1) Boil the uncooked quinoa in a small pot with either the water or the vegetable broth.
2) After around 10-15 mins, it will have absorbed all the liquid and be grainy but soft. Add salt, pepper and EVOO and fluff it up with a fork. Leave it aside.
Ingredients for Taco
2 tbsps EVOO
2 large scallions, cut into small pieces
1/3 yellow capsicum, sliced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large square firm tofu, mashed
1 cup kidney beans
For the topping
2 tbsps pumpkin seeds
A stalk of coriander leaf, cut big
2 tbsps greek yogurt
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
5-6 pickled jalapeno slices
1) Get all the ingredients ready.
2) Heat a pot and add the EVOO. Fry the scallions, garlic and capsicum slices.
3) Then add in the seasonings - chilli powder, cumin powder, pepper and salt. Fry further for 2 mins.
4) Then, add in the mashed tofu and fry till moisture evaporates. You may have to add another tbsp of EVOO if it gets too dry.
5) Add in the kidney beans.
6) Stir and your vegetarian taco is ready!
7) Now, assemble the quinoa and taco into two bowls. Top it off with pumpkin seeds, coriander leaves, sliced pickled jalapeno, greek yogurt and halved cherry tomatoes.
8) It was a big hit at home especially with my older girl Ranya and my husband. Ranya is slowly following her father's footsteps in opting always for healthier meals.
Bulghur Wheat is a wholewheat grain made from durum wheat that has been cracked open and precooked partially. Bulgur is very commonly consumed in European, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine.
As a wholegrain, bulgur wheat is naturally high in fibre and is a low fat, low calorie vegetarian and vegan food ingredient. It is not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet. Using bulgur wheat in a simple mediterranean salad is a great way to fill up with wholegrain and vegetables.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 cup cooked bulgur wheat (roughly 75 gm uncooked )
1/2 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup yellow capsicum
8 olives, sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced
6-8 baby spinach leaves
12 cubes of feta cheese
Salt & Pepper to season
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1) Prepare the bulgur as stated in the box. It is usually quite simple - empty 75gm of the uncooked bulgur into a bowl. Pour around 100ml boiling water and leave it for around 10-15 mins. Season with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar and fluff it up with a fork.
2) Get all the other ingredients ready.
3) Arrange them in a systematic way and serve. Told ya it was a simple salad!
We all love hummus at home. Hummus - the creamy protein-packed paste that is made primarily from mashed chickpeas which can be used as a dip or a spread.
History of the Humble Hummus
According to ancient scriptures, it was first consumed in Egypt around the 13th century but it was very different from what we having today. Early Egyptians omitted tahini and garlic and used pickled lemons, herbs, spices and other nuts instead. It was only during the 16th century that the Mediterraneans started consuming the way we do today. It is so popular all over the world and its not surprising that restaurants have sprung up recently dedicating their menu to this humble but highly nutritious dip/spread - namely Hummus Grill in Philadelphia, Hummus Cafe in Seattle and many more.
Hummus Health Benefits
Hummus, with its protein rich chickpeas, highly wholesome EVOO, raw garlic and calcium rich sesame seeds in its tahini, is packed with many health benefits. It
Basic hummus consists of chickpeas, tahini (which is essentially ground roasrted sesame seeds), olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt. I wanted to make a version with cilantro (coriander) to see how it would turn out. I used only 1/2 cup which gave a faint green shade to the hummus and a hint of cilantro flavor. I believe it will be even more delicious with a full cup.
Ingredients (yields 2 cups)
1 can of garbanzo beans (15 oz)
2 tbsp tahini
3/4 cup EVOO
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
Salt per preference
3-4 tbsps water
Extra EVOO, cilantro leaves and a dash cayenne pepper for prettying it up
1) Put everything into a food processor and blend. Please don't make the mistake of putting the ingredients into a blender, like I did. It took a long time to blend it to a smooth paste. Only use a food processor.
2) Remove from food processor, pour it into a shallow serving bowl with a coloured interior for that extra impact. Swirl EVOO, add a dash of cayenne and place the coriander leave in the center.
Serve with your fav dip chips or on your wrap as a spread. It's really delicious. You won't regret trying out this super easy recipe.
When my girls were much younger and were studying in a local elementary school in the East of Singapore, I would volunteer on a weekly basis to keep the kids gainfully occupied while the teachers were engaged in their staff meeting. Occasionally, we would hold meetings related to th volunteering within the school and food was always brought in. One of the parent volunteers, Niza, made an amazing bread pudding that I can't replicate even till today. Attempts to obtain her recipe were always met with vague answers and that she would bring the recipe the following week. I guess when you have an absolutely delicious out of the world recipe, you wouldn't want to share it with friends you don't know so well.
Perfectly understandable but something I wouldn't do. I share my recipes with everyone. I believe that everyone brings a different, their own unique touch to the food they make and it never turns out exactly the way the original cook makes it. For example, let's take my own recipe below. Some may make it full fat, some may use blueberry bread instead of the stipulated banana walnut bread. You get my gist? So go on and share your recipes with everyone. You'll make that person's day! And the fact that someone actually asked for your recipe is a compliment and vouches for your culinary skills. What a boost to your ego :)
For those who may not know, bread pudding is essentially a bread based dessert. It is popular in many countries around the world. Bread Pudding uses stale bread pieces spread with butter and then soaked in a sweet creamy egg mixture and then baked till the custard sets and the top is a glorious golden brown. One of the easiest desserts to prepare and it can be both sweet or savory. Interesting fact - Bread Puddings were first found in a published recipe book in UK dated 1728. We are looking at a close to 300 year old recipe!
Many recipes online use actual bananas and walnuts for their Banana Walnut Bread Pudding. I needed a quick and easy recipe so I used the slices of a Banana Walnut bread loaf, instead. Such an easy fool proof way to bake the perfect Banana Walnut Bread Puddng. It tasted heavenly, by the way :) And look out for the wholemeal version. Couldn't resist not topping off with more walnuts, though!
Ingredients ( Yields 8 big square chunks)
1) First butter a 10 by 6 inch rectangle glass baking dish.
2) Then cut the bread slices into 4 triangles each and butter both sides.
3) Arrange them into the baking dish in an alternate fashion, till all the pieces are used.
4) Preheat the oven now at 180 deg C or 350 deg F. Then beat the eggs lightly with an electric beater.
5) Add the sugar and keep on beating till all the sugar has dissolved around 5 mins.
6) Now, you will add the cinnamon powder, vanilla essence, cream and skim milk. Whisk everything till all are mixed well.
7) Pour this egg cream mix into the baking dish with the prepared bread slices. Bread slices will start to float, so gently press them down with a spoon. Set aside for 10 mins.
8) Top with the chopped walnuts.
9) Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 mins or till the top is golden brown.
10) Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an added indulgence.
I did a cook book review recently titled Silk Road Vegetarian and this recipe is adapted from that book. It was a nice change from the usual plain red lentil curry I make for my family often. Adding vegetables to the red lentils and then mixing in a tempered tomato gravy gave a delicious twist. And it was the first time I have used zucchini in an Indian curry. My family loved it and it goes particularly well with an Indian rice dish called Kitcheri www.americanmoments.net/quick--easy-vegetarian-recipes/healthy-kitcheri(See pictures).
The original recipe didn't call for certain spices but I added them anyway - cumin, chilli and turmeric. And I have adjusted the recipe accordingly for a family of 4.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 cup red lentils (Masoor dal)
3 cups water (600ml)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 small carrot, sliced into thin quarters
1/3 big zucchini, sliced into thin quarters
1/2 cup peas
1 cup cauliflower florets, cut small
2 tbsps Canola Oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp mix of ginger and garlic
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1 and 1/2 medium tomatoes, cubed small
Coriander Leaves for garnish
1) Wash and boil the red lentils in 3 cups of water. Add the turmeric powder and salt and simmer on low heat for 15 mins.
2) After 15 minutes, add in the vegetables, stir and cook covered for another 15 mins on low heat. I didn't have cauliflower florets at that point. That's why it is missing!
3) While the vegetables and the lentils are cooking, get another small pot and heat the canola oil. Fry the cumin seeds.
4) Then, add in the chopped onions and ginger garlic paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
5) Add in the spices and salt and fry for a few minutes.
6) This will be followed by the chopped tomatoes. Let it cook till it becomes pulpy and then mash it a little.
7) After the 15 minutes, the cooked vegetables and lentils will look like this. Pour in the tempered tomato mix into the cooked vegs and lentils.
8) Mix well.
9) Garnish with extra red chilli flakes and coriander leaves. Serve hot with your favorite rice dish.
Spanish Omelette is the English name for a traditional Spanish dish called Tortilla Espanola or Tortilla de Patatas. It is basically an omelette using eggs, potatoes, onions/chives and garlic.
According to legend, Spanish Omelette was created when during the siege of Bilbao in the Spanish Civil War in 1937, General Tomas de Zumalacarregui was in the field and happened to come across a farmhouse and demanded a meal from the farmwife. All she had were a few eggs, potatoes and onions, so she combined all three, making an omelette (necessity is the basis for most inventions/creations, isn't it?). Surprisingly, General Zumalacarregui was pleased and took the recipe idea with him.
Omelettes are one of the most easiest quickest meals to prepare. You can throw in any ingredients you like with basic seasonings and pour in your beaten eggs, and you have a nutritious protein-rich meal. In this post, I made an omelette using only egg-whites as I am very put off by the strong egg smell and taste of the eggs in Singapore.
I didn't have whole egg objections while living in America, but I do in Singapore. My husband Anand says it is because of the chicken feed. I thought I was the odd one feeling this way but apparently a friend and fellow Book Club member Anu feels the same way about Singapore eggs too. She said she could eat eggs in India but she can't here because of its egginess. I believe vegetarians build up a strong sense of smell over time so that they can tell the difference between non-veg and veg.
I have used potatoes with skin for fibre and for still keeping the nutrition under its skin and since I only had basil leaves, instead of chives, I had to make do with them.
Ingredients (for a 9 inch omelette)
5 tbsps olive oil
6 eggs, egg yolks discarded
1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 medium potatoes, sliced thinly with or without skin
6-8 big Basil Leaves (or 12 small) and extra for garnish
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp Chilli flakes and extra for garnish
Salt & Pepper
1) Heat the EVOO and fry the sliced yellow onion for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
2) Add the sliced potatoes, basil leaves, sliced red capsicum, salt and pepper.
3) Let the vegetables cook for 15 mins on medium heat, stirring often so that the potatoes don't stick.
4) Season the egg whites with salt and pepper and beat very well till fluffy. Then, pour in the egg whites into the pan. Add in the halved cherry tomatoes, cut side up, and submerge them in the egg whites so they don't fall out when you flip the cooked omelette later.
5) Cover and cook on low heat for 5-10 mins.
6) When the sides are crisp and omelette moves on the pan when you tilt it, the bottom is cooked.
7) Flip over using a wide spatula and cook for another 3-5 mins.
8) Garnish with chilli flakes and more basil leaves. Cut into 4 big quarters or 8 medium wedges.
9) Enjoy your Spanish Egg-White Omelette on its own or with your favourite breakfast accompaniments.
Potatoe Anna or Pommes Anna is a classic French dish created solely for potato lovers. It is entirely made of sliced potatoes baked in quite a generous amount of melted butter. It is usually baked/fried in a round dish or a pan and the end result is like a layered potato cake (See picture below - this is not mine by the way. I am just showing you how the classic Potato Anna looks like). It is then cut into wedges and served hot usually to accompany roasted meats. Potato Anna was created around the time of Napolean the Third, during the early 19th century. It is named after a beautiful lady but there is still a controversy as to whether it is named after actress Anna Damiens or Anna Deslions.
Individual Mini Potato Anna makes a great little side dish for your dinner/party or you could just eat it on its own. They look so pretty and impressive but I assure you they are so easy to make. The only time consuming part is the slicing of the potato into thin slices. I kept the skin on in mine but you could do without in yours. Also, don't soak the potatoes in water after slicing them. We need the starch to bind them together when they are baking. I have used butter to get the authentic taste of Potato Anna but I'm sure EVOO will work wonders too.
Ingredients (for 6 mini Potato Annas)
8 medium sized potatoes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
80 gm butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped chives
Salt & Pepper
1) Preheat your oven to 190 deg C or 375 deg F. Grease a 6 hole Mini Pie Pan with butter and place a square greaseproof paper on the bottom of each hole. Ensure that the corners of the paper stick out. If you don't have this Mini Pie Pan, then use large ramekins.
2) Slice the potatoes very thinly and overlap them in a layer in a round flower pattern. Sprinkle a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese, spoon a small amount of butter and season the slices with salt and pepper.
3) Keep on layering the potatoes, butter, cheese, salt and pepper till you reach the top of the Pie Pan hole or ramekin. I needed 4-5 layers to reach the top. Do the same for the rest of the potatoes. Top it with chives.
4) Bake in your preheated oven covered with foil for 30 mins, then remove the foil and bake for another 20mins uncovered to make the potato edges crispier. Top with more chives and serve warm. It is quite heavy because of the butter so 1 should suffice per person in your family or party.
Hi guys! I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.